So…did you catch this segment in Ken Sugiura’s write up of Wednesday night’s 5-4 preseason win over the Nashville Predators?
Another addition under examination for the Thrashers was speedy forward Maxim Afinogenov, brought in last Friday for a pro tryout. His opportunities were limited — his ice time was third-lowest on the team — and he was playing with new linemates (rookie Evander Kane and Tim Stapleton), but he showed Anderson enough.
“I thought he played really well,” Anderson said. “He’ll play more in regular-season games. It’s just the way it went tonight with so many penalties in the game [against the Thrashers]. He’s not a penalty-killer.”
Ah…what’s that again coach? ”He’ll play more in regular-season games”.
Well, if Anderson is going to be giving Max more playing minutes come October 3rd, then that means he’s going to be signed…logically speaking of course?
Now…granted, some may point out the fine print to me here that the good coach did not use the phrase “with the Thrashers” in that statement. I mean, if one chooses to parse words here, one could say that regardless of where he plays he’ll be logging more time on the ice, right?
But that caveat aside…could it be that Anderson just gave us a bit of foreshadowing into the Thrashers near-future plans for Maxim Afinogenov?
Boris Valabik did not have himself a very good game Wednesday night. The official line on him was zero points, two shots on goal, 4 PIM and a –2 during his 17:03 time on the ice. But those numbers don’t do it justice.
Which defender is most likely to NOT make the Thrashers opening night lineup?
Total Voters: 88
When Nashville scored their first goal of the game to cut Atlanta’s 2-0 lead in half, it game 10 seconds after Boris had been sent to the sin-bin for a tripping minor. For the most part he looked out of position and flat.
To illustrate his night in just one play…during the third period, the Thrashers had just killed off a power play and Atlanta’s skaters were looking to switch out. But no sooner than those in attendance heard “Thrashers…FULL STRENGTH” bellow forth from the P.A. system, Valabik had flipped the puck down the length of the ice for an icing call.
Come on back, boys.
Given that…and the strong showings by Mark Popovic…if things continue like this, Boris may find himself viewing the action from the press box next Saturday night.
So…How Did Opie Do?
I’ll answer that question by saying that he did just fine. The line shows he stopped 33 of Nashville’s 37 shots…but really those numbers kind of got skewed a bit late in the game. Nashville netted a pair of goals with under three minutes left after the Thrashers’ skaters looked to already be in the locker room mentally. He saved the first 16 he faced and first 29 of the Preds’ 31 SOG. In the two games he has started he’s saved 66 of the 71 attempts taken on his goal, (.930 SV%).
For the most part, Opie looked sharp and in control.
If he came into the game with the upper hand in the competition for the opening night job, he didn’t do anything to slip in the rankings.
Kubina Not Gonna Stand For That Kinda Krap
One of the better moments in last night’s game came after a low hit on Ilya Kovalchuk. I didn’t get the number of the player who committed the offense, but that’s because Pavel Kubina was on him like Rosie O’Donnell on a lunch buffet…he smothered him, covered him and put him down! I think that’s the kinda toughness Kovy was saying the team needed last spring!
“A”s For Toby And Pavel
Tobias Enstrom and Pavel Kubina both wore an “A” on their jerseys last night. I don’t know if that’s because Armstrong and Kozlov were not in the lineup or if that is indicative of something more.
Thrashers First Decade Per Kincade
I was having lunch with John Kincade Monday…discussing such things as the upcoming Thrashers season, the re-signing of Kovy issue, and the team in general. He classifies his feelings on the 2009-10 campaign as “cautiously optimistic”…where I would say I’m more “anxiously optimistic”. But we’ll discuss that in more detail later.
But for now, here is Kincade’s “Ten Defining Moments” of the Thrashers’ first ten years.
Because You Asked…
The other day someone posted a question to me about the availability of seats on the Party Bus going to the Sharks game on October 24…i.e. the TJ’s/Thrasherville Express.
Well, the answer is that the response has been very good and we expect that the few seats available will be filled soon. But the good news is that there are still some tickets available for those still wanting to climb aboard.
Here’s the info…it’s sure to be a good time!
I’m just curious to see who wins the Zamboni ride that night.